Monday, August 03, 2015

Good News!

Or should I say, "News good, mon." I tweaked the first third of the feed lips of a C-Products 5.56 30-rounder using a Brownell's Magazine Lip Tool for my .458 SOCOM, a la the .458 Forums. It made the nose of the round ride up maybe a 16th of an inch higher. So I loaded up a half-dozen of the Wilson Combat .300-gr Hornady HPs, which have been the toughest to get to feed consistently,  and YES, success!

Ran like a top!

So I'm getting there with the .458 SOCOM project. My goal is to use it for an elk rifle in Colorado or New Mexico (and probably hogs in Texas for AMERICA'S RIFLE…I'll know more about that tomorrow). Also, I'll take some pictures tomorrow when I get the ACE stock installed. It is one heck of a gun! I'm agonizing on optics…right now I have a Burris AR-1X optic on it. I'm sorta thinking about a Trijicon 1-4X. With the Burris I can go with a 3X magnifier, of course.

This week when I get some spare time in the evening I'm going to do a run of .458 reloads with the Barnes TAC-TX bullets and see how it goes. I think I may have linked to this before…it's a pretty good summation, but I have to save my money to buy that helmet!

Monday Come Too Soon

Oaky, I'm hobbling  a bit less today, but my back aches from gimpy-footing around.

I was cooking Sunday — "mixed grill" fish fajitas, fresh guacamole, home-made salsa, greens and tomatoes from a local organic farm…darn good meal! Our guest wanted to do some shooting with his new 1911 and my Sweetie needed some work on weak-hand pistol, so we went to the range.

I thought it a golden opportunity for me to get familiar with the Ruger .45 Colt/.45 ACP  Redhawk revolver that Ed Head reviewed for DRTV. As you guys know I like to shoot a gun for a bit before I "get serious" with it. Call it "breaking in" or just getting used to how the gun sits in my hand under recoil, it's always worked well for me.

I started out with a box of Winchester .45 Colt Cowboy, a 250-gr bullet at 750 fps, pretty much what Wyatt and his brother were using in the Back When. You shoulda seen me flinch! I expected something out of the Redhawk — most of the Redhawk rounds I've fired recently have been from the 2.75 .44 Magnum and above — but the Cowboys were like shooting .22s out of the big beast. I have smallish hands, so I kinda like the round butt configuration…same as on the 2.75 .44. I would not argue, however, with the Hogue grips provided on the 4-inch .44 Magnum Redhawk. As I've mentioned before, Ken Jorgensen and I I went through the GUNSITE 250 class with the 4-inch Redhawk shooting .44 Specials, and was fun and instructive — yes, it's a big heavy gun, but it delivers a big heavy payload without having to pick the hammer spur out of your teeth.

I was shooting on 2 steel silhouettes at 15 yards, BTW. After running through the box of 50 Cowboys, I shifted some to self-defense ammo...I don't actually have a ton of .45 Colt ammo around. As I've mentioned, you're either a ".44 Magnum/.44 Special" sort of guy or a ".45 Colt" sort of gun. I fall on the smaller side of the equation. I did have some Corbon and a little Winchester SilverTips, both 225-grainers, so I launched them off. Once again, not the kind of boom you get from a .44 Magnum...even with the self-defense loads, the Redhawk was easy to control DA.

Then I went to the funniest part, 230-gr .45 ACP ball in moon clips...pretty much like running a stapler. Sights called for a low neck hold to hit the center plate, but I'll deal with that when I start seriously working with the gun. Trigger was Redhawk heavy...I actually pulled out my Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, which on DA read, "OMG! You're Not Serious!" Okay, actually, it read "OVEr," which translates into "More than 12 pounds." I'd call it 15 pounds. Gauge read the SA trigger at 7 pounds.

At least the DA stroke is smooth...not as smooth as my 4-inch .44, but then it doesn't have nearly the number of rounds through it as the .44. Redhawks triggers can be a bitch to tune. It's a single spring system, where one spring powers the hammer and the trigger reset. That means there is some juggling involved on getting a good trigger pull, and there are actually 2 different approaches. Wolff makes a series of light springs, 12#, 13#, 14# vs.the factory 20#. However, Hamilton Bowen, who probably knows more about tuning the Redhawks than any other living human, strongly argues another path. You can read it in his "News" section, down at the bottom. Hamilton goes to a heavier spring to guarantee ignition. Interestingly enough, he and I had this discussion up at John Linebaugh's place 6 weeks ago when were were talking about Hamilton cleaning up my 2.75 .44 Redhawk, which has a pretty good, if heavy, DA trigger.

I did not any any ignition problems with the new Redhawks, knock on wood, so my focus will be on dry-firing. Again, if you go back to Ed McGivern, his focus was on smooth, not light. Here's an interesting article on revolver trigger pulls from Grant Cunningham, who knows more than a thing or 2 about revolver triggers (especially Rugers...I am lucky enough to have a Cunningham-tuned SP-101, although right now Mike Seeklander is using it in training and he swears he's not giving it back).
Jerry Miculek, the greatest living revolver shooter, points out that the trigger pull is only half - or even less - of the equation. Trigger return is at least as important to successful double-action shooting. Trigger return should be judged much like trigger pull: no hesitation, no grittiness or roughness, consistent speed, and as quick as the gun's design allows.
While I'm thinking about it, here's an excellent article from OUTDOOR LIFE on shooting DA revolvers.

I did have some issues, especially in the first 50 rounds, of the trigger not resetting on DA (happened 3 times). It worked itself out the more rounds I fired. It felt a little gummy, but considered I just took it out of the box and started firing I should be surprised. As usual, I'll detail strip, clean and lube before I start accuracy testing and serious shooting.

My overall plan is to indeed shoot the Redhawks in USPSA competition, because I'm a huge fan of self-abuse. This week I'm going to fish out all my moon clip carriers, etc., and start heading in that direction. I also see this Redhawks as an amazingly useful trail gun., or something to carry when the bears are out and about.

Another minor's high rattlesnake season hear at the Secret Hidden Bunker. One of my neighbors a few miles from us is reporting killing one of the big snakes a week, and one dog has already been bitten. New is getting the rattlesnake vaccine shot this week, and we are EXTREMELY careful walking her. We're talking to the vet about whetherAsta the Manx should have the same shot. They're never let outside unsupervised, but snakes are tricksy. A few weeks ago I shifted from a Redhawk to a Taurus Judge with Federal buckshot as the trail gun.I have found those Federal loads will simply vaporize the first 3-4 inches of the snake's head and neck.

In an Ideal Gun World I'd get an S&W Governor and use the same moon clips as the Redhawks for .45 ACP...sadly, not happening!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Well, hi!

Hopefully, after everyone has had a cooling off period, I can safely return to the blog!

Shot a 3-Gun match today…I'm still not shooting the way I know I'm capable of, but I also am pretty familiar with my own "learning skills," such as they are, and this is how it goes. I'm still happy with the rifle, and the pistol is coming up. I was bummed on the last stage, when I (and most everyone else) couldn't see the long-range, 200+ yard rifle targets. I hit what I could see, but the stage ended up getting tossed anyway.

I discover an old and proven truth — when I get tricksy on shooting strategy I usually end up boning myself. I took a little bit of riskier run, e.g., I was the only person stupid enough to try it, on a pistol-only stage. My idea was to take longer range shots to save myself a reload. I did save myself a reload, but…LOL!

BTW, we spent some time in Kentucky with David Ives of Nemesis Arms, makers of the coolest take-down bolt action sniper rifle in the world and now located conveniently across the highway from Rockcastle Shooting Center where we were filming for AMERICA'S RIFLE. If you remember a few years bacon SHOOTING GALLERY we featured David assembling and breaking down the Nemesis at the SHOT Show (I think Freddy Blish sent us down to SHOT basement netherworld to check it out).

Marshal and I were lucky to get out with our wallets intact! We did a bunch of filming with the newest iteration of the Nemesis, the ambidextrous Valkyrie bolt gun, because we thought you guys would like to see it [not a sponsor!]. You're gonna have to see the video to really get how cool the Nemesis is. David has a breathtaking grasp of details, which is why the gun is in use in many scary places.

We also got so see a bunch of new products for the AR platform…they are every bit as thoughtful and well-designed as the rifle itself. I'll let you know when we get the vids up!

 There's an excellent article by WeaponsMan on "If You Had Only One 5.56 Carbine:"
Want to spend more money, anyway?
Spend it wisely. Buy ammo and get training. That gives you two things that can never be confiscated, experience and knowledge.
Read the whole thing!

Man, I'm suffering with a popped right knee right now. I torqued it last weekend, then spent the rest of the week on my feet outside. It sucks. And yes, I will grant you that shooting a run-and-gun match today was possibly not the best therapy. For the rest of the weekend (and most of next week, I suspect) it's ice, ice baby!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil the Lion & Sport Hunting on the blistering hot range filming until the weekend, but I wanted to say I will be talking about Cecil the Lion and sport hunting on next week'm podcast. In the meanwhile, read this:
Still, we don't need the video to realize a very important and vital lesson about the mental faculties of your average American. And that lesson is they are no longer capable of logic, reason, empiricism or sanity. Worse, they're so selfish and narcissistic, they happily put their emotions over principles and the rights of others. With no proof (at that point in time) that Dr. Palmer was guilty of violating any law people were already threatening to kill him, ruin his career, and ruin his life. Some were so far gone they said they didn't care about the legality of his kill, they just thought he should be punished for hunting. And it is this principleless, amoral, mindless mob who put their emotions over, not just an individual's rights, but reality, facts, and truth that not only makes it difficult for the legal system to

The real story is not that poor Cecil was tragically shot. It's that western civilization, specifically the younger generations, have lost their collective minds and do not have the mental faculties to be adults, let alone adults in the free world. They are effectively zombies. And there is no reasoning with them.
Plan accordingly.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Oh Sigh...

…another weekend, another bombed match. This time a 3-Gun match. Focus, Michael…focus. Ironically, I did my best on the Noveske Standards, which are really simple and surprisingly hard. Five paper targets…first string with the carbine is head shots on each at 36 yards, 6 second par time. Second string, 6 seconds, 2 shots to the body. Next 2 strings are pistol, 6 second each run. First run is 2 body shots on each of the 5 USPSA targets; second run is 1 shot, reload, 1 shot. My understanding is that in 2 major matches, no one has shot this simple exercise clean.  One of the best runs belongs to 3-Gun champion and USPSA Grand Master James Casanova, who shot the standards down one shot.

I've cleaned the rifle portion before, but I got sloppy and dropped one of the head shots (#3, I called it) just out of the hard box. Then I went to the pistol with my G34. Did the 2 shots no problem. Checked the magazine for the next reload run. Buzzer goes off, I pull the trigger, the magazine goes sailing out of the gun like a watermelon out of a 6-year-old's mouth. I go to the reload on my belt to salvage something, and — for the first time I can remember in years…and years…and years…I miss it and knock my ONLY loaded magazine off into space. "Well, damn!" says my old friend Paul Miller Jr., who was running the timer. That sums it up.

The whole day was like that.

Okay…sometimes Karma just rolls against you, and you've got to ride it out. Got another 3-Gun match next weekend…I NEED to get my head on-board before Noveske!  I will say this…all the time I've spent on carbine has paid off. Of course, as the old television commercial said, I "traded a headache for an upset stomach." My success with the AR has come at the cost of my skills with a pistol. Luckily, I know how to fix that! Jerry the Geek, no comments! from the peanut gallery!!!

Here's a piece from Salena Zito you should read, largely because I think she's onto something:
What if fear is the origin of all the anger that voters feel toward Washington? Not just fear over economic stability in our homes and communities, but fear for our personal safety, our nation's security? When was the last time that felt stable?
As each awful event occurred, the Obama administration refused to state the obvious — that each was an act of terrorism based on a fundamentalist version of Islam; it even insisted that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence. 
In January of this year, during his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that the greatest threat to America's future was neither terrorism nor nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran. “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” he said. 
Just once, we'd love a little honesty and a lot less political division from the White House…
I've said it before on the podcast…the wheels are coming off the great experiment that is America. You can feel it in the air, like, nasty ashy grit from a sputtering volcano. Bread, band-aids and bullets, my friends...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Putzing Around With ARs

That pretty much sums up yesterday. I have to get some guns ready for filming next week for AMERICA'S RIFLE. I picked up the lower I wanted to use on Wednesday, along with a "partial" parts kit. Emphasis on "partial." No big, as I had another lower parts kit just in case of stuff like this. No, let me rephrase that….another "partial" parts kit. I have a "beater" AR polymer lower from a project that never worked out the way I wanted, so I cribbed the rest of the parts I needed from that guy.

It's a Wilson lower with a Timney trigger, Hogue grip and A1 rifle buffer tube set-up. Right now I've got a Magpul PRS stock on it, but I plan to replace it with an ACE ARFX. Once I get past this filming, I plan to use this lower for a dedicated .458 SOCOM hunting gun.

That is, I hope so. I'm still having feed problems with the Wilson SOCOM upper, and, yes, that's with a couple of different brands of factory ammo.  The round starts to nose up into the chamber, then jams. I got the same response from Lancer mags, which Bill Wilson recommended to me, and several metal AR mags. First thing this morning I'm going to break to bolt down and give it a good cleaning (which seemed to show some promise yesterday afternoon). Of that doesn't work, I've seem some minor magazine mods aimed at the same problem on the Internet…hi yo Dremel!

The .458 has a Burris AR-1x optic with it's "dot in a donut" reticle that I like so much. I've always liked the idea of 45-70 performance in a lightweight AR platform. I've read how brutal the recoil is off the .458, but that has not been my experience. Yes, it recoils more than a .223, but no more than you might expect from, say, a 45-70 Ruger #1 with midrange factory ammo.

The other upper I'll be using with that lower is a JP Rifles .204 Ruger. I mounted a Burris 3-9x 50mm scope on my favorite P.E.P.R. mount, then stuck it on the Wilson lower. Can you spell "laser beam?" I'm shooting Hornady Superformance Varmint 32-grainers at a smoking 4225 fps. Shot great; no magazine/buffer-spring issues; shots like a .22 LR.

I've still got to re-sight-in my long range AR, a DoubleStar "Midnight Dragon", since I changed out to the Lucid 6-24x. Going to try to hammer it out with  box of Black Hills 69-gr Match this afternoon, where the temperature is expected to reach the boiling point of water...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

If You've Got Money Burning a Hole in Your Pocket...

I thought I might address this post to the pepper community. There's always a lot of talk within that community about having a solid bolt-action rifle as a hunting gun or an adjunct to the AR-15 platform carbine, which should of course be the first long gun purchase. Somehow, that discussion invariably returns to a Mosin Nagant as the ideal choice. I once got a long lecture on how the Mosin was not only the equal of model rifles, but surpassed them in many ways, so the smart move was to buy an inexpensive Mosin and "build it up."

The person pointed me to the now huge Mosin aftermarket — stocks, bent bolts and custom knobs, accurizing, triggers, barrels, sights, magazines, scope mounts, rails, etc.

Okay, color me confused. As a fan and owner of custom rifles, I'd have to say that all the Mosin stuff is indeed cool. and you can build up really neat custom rifle.  Plus I understand the appeal of old military father spent many many happy hours building up a couple of Swedish 6.5 X 55 Mausers and one really ugly Turkish Mauser, which he kept in the 8mm Turk caliber.

But that's all about building a custom rifle, not having a good bolt gun around for hunting or back-up self-defense uses. Yes, you can still find Mosins on the cheap — $169 at Cabelas, for instance, or Classic Firearms selling them by the crate for $180 a pop per gun. Or pick one up on for maybe less. But after you spend the money to soup it up, you're approaching the $1K or above number.

If I was in the market for a good, inexpensive bolt gun, I'd have to take a long hard look at CDNN's July sale on Ruger Americans — .308s at a penny under $300, with scope mounts; a black 30-06 for roughly $280. We had one of the 30-06s in Africa a couple of years ago, and it was a workhorse gun. I would take the .308, shop around for a good scope in the $150-200 range (there are plenty from all the major manufacturers) and go from there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Round-Up

Well, not much to round up. Monday is always Podcast Day, plus we're pretty deep into SHOOTING GALLERY scheduling, which is a giant puzzle (or giant pizzle, as the case may be).

My Sweetie and I shot a USPSA match Sunday (she beat me, BTW) and it was Big Fun, considering  I was shooting a Ruger Match Champion 6-round .357 revolver. Yee-haw! We did us some revolver reloading practice yesterday! Especially on that 30-round plus stage! I finished within spitting distance of dead last! LOL! Funny aside…I was LMAO after I left the last target on a stage unengaged…never saw it!...and a shooter came up to me to thank me for laughing, not bitching. Glad to be a role model…of sorts. Next USPSA match, it's gonna be the Redhawk .45ACP/.45 Colt blaster…I ordered enough moon clips to get me through.

A thoughtful (and controversial, I suspect) piece from Mark Steyn, on "senseless" violence:
I'm afraid the makeshift memorials of flags and other patriotic memorabilia that have sprung up on the edge of the police tape depress the hell out of me. A no doubt sincere veneration for the military apparently can only express itself with a feeble passivity that is a large part of the problem. This isn't a time for the bumper-sticker bromides of "We salute our heroes/Thank you for your service/We support our troops". Among the dead are men who waged a bloody and hard-fought battle to retake Fallujah ...only to come home and die unarmed in a crappy shopping mall at the hands of a halfwit fanatic whose family had been under the leisurely money-no-object scrutiny of the bloated security apparatus for years. 
A Chinese-made teddy bear from Wal-Mart is not an appropriate reaction. Righteous anger is. And there's not a lot of evidence of that. At that parking-lot memorial, the public seems to discern that such anger is no longer an approved sensibility - whereas a teary generalized sadness gets plenty of media coverage. This is the same media, by the way, that, after a couple of perfunctory questions about Chattanooga, asked Josh Earnest for more details about the "father-daughter weekend" President Obama is currently enjoying in New York. Golly, you'd almost get the impression they're really not that sad at all.
BTW, if you haven't seen or heard of news anchor Tomi Lahren's Chattanooga rant, you can and should watch it here.